It’s worth starting with an idea of what a successful endeavour looks like.
My Vampire Counts army was mine. Okay, an undead Empire army is hardly anything original; it was directly inspired by the first WD article on the Army of Sylvania, which was released a few months later, but that was something of a happy co-incidence, since it let me build a Vampire Counts army that could shoot things, and that wasn’t dependent on Necromancers at the expense of scary Vampire heroes.
The point is that I made it my own through modelling, and didn’t tax myself overthinking the colour scheme (I’m a bit hit and miss with inventing my own; they either work very well or they fall down flop, and when I try and add colour theory into the mix I rapidly tire of the project; I enjoy modelling, I enjoy playing with painted models, and painting is something I have to do to get from one to the other, so I don’t enjoy lingering on it too much, especially with large numbers of models; even doing ten things in the same scheme bores me). Pretty much every model was either a conversion or a swap-in from a Specialist Game; the colour-scheme was taken from a GW publication and simply applied consistently across the things that publication didn’t cover. All the characters were named, there was a backstory that fitted them all together, and I kept a paper journal of story notes, games played, tactical notions and list builds with funny names (they were all Cradle of Filth songs, and I have no shame about liking overdramatic, overwritten, so-bad-it’s-good false metal, you hear me? none at all.). There was a lot of me in that army, and a careful toning-down of the bits that weren’t me.
So why did I get rid of it, then?
Well, after four and a half years, the gameplay was starting to become wearisome; a new edition of the army book reinvigorated my Vampire characters, but reduced the variety of lists I could put them in (Dire Wolves no longer filling the minimum Core allowance was a real kick in the teeth there). The army was looking dated – sixth edition’s Empire and Skeleton pieces were chunky and fussy compared to the newer releases, some of the conversions were embarrassingly poor and beginning to suffer from the ravages of time, and the painting had come on in leaps and bounds. Also, I was a piss-broke graduate student with little money and no storage space, so picking up a second army was impossible without liquidating the first to provide assets for it.
What I should have done is stuck with it, reinvigorated the older models with new colourschemes and perhaps a few corrections to the more egregiously poor conversions and generally tackled those problems I could tackle and suffered through the others. Shiny seems to manage that way.
Instead, I sold the army – and that’s where the trouble started.